Shadows of the Cross: The Death of Christ in Jewish Prophecy

The cross of Christ is sometimes called “the hinge of history” because all of redemptive history was moving toward it, and all of redemptive history now flows out of it. Even our calendars announce that between the B.C. and A.D. years stands the cross. This “hinge” is firmly anchored in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. In other words, the Old Testament saw it coming. When Jesus died, it wasn’t a surprise. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a detour. It was God’s plan from the beginning. 

In this series we look at the prophecies, hints, and glimpses in the Hebrew Bible that always pointed forward to the cross of Christ. It was Jesus himself who said to the Emmaus disciples: “‘How slow of heart you are to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said about him in the Scriptures” (Luke 24:25-27).

The New Testament calls these texts “shadows”—that is, outlines or impressions of what was to come. Shadows are fleeting, dark, and incomplete, but they give an indication of the reality to which it points. These shadows of the cross anticipated the type of suffering Jesus would endure as he became humanity’s sin-bearing substitute at Calvary. When we put them all together, they paint an impressive and impressionistic portrait of the death of Jesus.

Part 1: The Carcass in the Garden (Genesis 3:21)

Part 2: The Ram in the Thicket (Genesis 22:1-19)

Part 3: The Yom Kippur Goats (Leviticus 16:1-34)

Part 4: The Scarlet Worm (Psalm 22:1-31)

Part 5: The Crushed Servant (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)

Part 6: The Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:1-51)

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